Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Australia is up to 10 hours ahead of the UK in time zones so for British readers this greeting will probably seem a day early

The image above is by talented Australian conservative cartoonist Zeg

A friendly Koala above

NHS patient data loss affects 168,000

The loss of patient records by the NHS affects 168,000 people, including at least 160,000 children, the Department of Health has said. Nine English NHS trusts have admitted losing confidential patient details in the latest public sector data lapse. The DoH says patients have been informed and there is no evidence data has fallen into the wrong hands.

The Tories condemned the government for its "failure to protect the personal information which we provide". It follows losses of millions of child benefit claimant and driver details.

The DoH confirmed that one of the breaches involved the loss of names and addresses of 160,000 children by City and Hackney Primary Care Trust, after a disc failed to arrive at its destination at St Leonards Hospital in east London. But it said the data had been encrypted to an "extremely high level of security".

A DoH spokesperson said: "We believe that an additional 8,000 patients in total may have been affected but even amongst these only a small proportion involves some clinical data, and there is no evidence that this has fallen into the wrong hands." It said investigations were under way and action would be taken against anyone who had failed to fulfil their responsibilities under data protection laws.

The other data trusts involved are Bolton Royal Hospital, Sutton and Merton PCT, Sefton Merseyside PCT, Mid-Essex Care Trust, and Norfolk and Norwich. The East and North Hertfordshire Trust reported a loss but has since found its missing data. A further disc, lost by Gloucester Partnership Foundation Trust, consisted of archive records relating to patients treated 40 years ago - none of whom is still alive. Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has reported two breaches - meaning that 10 cases have occurred in total. The losses involved data stored on laptop computers and data sticks.

Roy Lilley, a former NHS trust chairman, said the losses were unacceptable: "The NHS has a very good encrypted secure system for sending data around the system and I can't see why sub-sets of data are being carted round on a memory stick." Mr Lansley said: "You have to wonder why on earth it took the Revenue and Customs to lose their discs and for government to institute an inquiry across government for these losses of data to come to light. "It does feel like there's a sense in government, all parts of government, that we're required to provide data and we are constantly told that it will be protected but in reality that level of protection simply isn't there."

Health minister Dawn Primarolo said: "What it is really important to stress is how important patient security and confidentiality is and how each of these trusts is moving to deal with this. "And given we have hundreds and hundreds of trusts I think that patients should be confident that their information is being held appropriately."

The DoH indicated the episode would not prevent the NHS's central computer database going ahead. A spokesperson said: "These breaches are in no way related to the National Programme for IT (NPfIT); indeed the NPfIT will help avoid such incidents, as it has particularly strong data protection rules and the highest standards of security control."

Police are still searching for two computer discs containing the names, addresses, dates of birth and bank account details of every child benefit claimant after it emerged they had been lost in the post by HM Revenue and Customs in November. Then on Monday it was revealed the details of three million learner drivers had also been lost after being sent to Iowa in America's mid-west.

Source Amusing that the BBC has changed this story since I downloaded it

Homosexuality Trumps Blackness

Jamaican culture not acceptable in Britain:

"Brighton council's decision this week to prohibit concerts that incite racist or homophobic violence should be applauded. While no BNP-supporting boot-boy band would get a council licence anywhere, there has been more tolerance for Jamaican reggae stars such as Buju Banton and Sizzla, famous for those toe-tapping lyrics "Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom" about murdering gay men.

It is time to challenge the hierarchy of discrimination that puts the rights of racial minorities and religious groups high above those of women and gay rights. Too often culture or faith are cited as excuses for attitudes that would never be forgiven in, for example, white working-class men. According to Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, Jamaica has one of the most repressive attitudes to homosexuality in the world


I just wonder how the correctness police work out these priorities. So nice that we have such wise people making decisions for us dummies about what we hear. Sorta a pity if you like Jamaican music, though.

Rejection of Christmas can be Christian: "During the English Civil War, the victorious Puritans under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell had suppressed traditional Christmas festivities on the grounds that they were merely pagan rituals that had been given a thin veneer of Christian respectability. The Puritans who came to America brought their righteous horror of Christmas with them, and it may even be reasonable to speculate that they hit upon the feast of Thanksgiving as an ersatz Christmas that could help them get through the bleak coming of winter without endangering their souls by adopting heathenish customs. Yet in the end, most Protestant congregations in North America found themselves irresistibly drawn to the old pagan rites, so that today the few hold outs, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, strike us as distinctly odd."

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